The Gospel and the Poor

One who had been dishonestly dealt with by business associates was impoverished to the point of despair. Resentment filled his thoughts. When Christian Science was presented to him, his first grasp of it involved a right understanding of his relation to God and to his fellow-men. Resentment disappeared. His bitter condemnation of those who had wronged him gave place to frequent references to the Christlike nature of Mrs. Eddy, which had enabled her to reveal the truth to this age. The experience was not one of becoming so absorbed in Christian Science that he was diverted from feelings of indignation, but, rather, that he understood Christian Science well enough to have those feelings destroyed. Quite naturally, his financial affairs began to assume a brighter outlook, and he viewed each change with the zest of a discoverer eagerly exploring a newly found territory. The gospel of Christian Science was indeed good news to him as he pondered, accepted, and practiced its loving, practical teachings.

This incident, so typical of orderly procedure in the reception of Truth, throws light on the message Jesus sent to John the Baptist in answer to the latter's desire to know whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. The message ran: "Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached." In each case Jesus gave the specific help the individual needed, and enumerated the results with corresponding definiteness. "To the poor the gospel is preached"! Did the Master, he who instantly gave sight, hearing, locomotion, life itself, when needed, also consider that a specific need of the poor was to hear the gospel? Evidently he did. Did Jesus indicate that a right understanding of God would heal two causes of poverty, namely, ignorance and indolence? The narrative under consideration implies that he did.

The literal meaning of the word "gospel" is "good news." To the poor, the positive instruction as to how to destroy poverty is certainly good news; for usually the destitute regard their condition as inevitable, sometimes as hopeless. It was the latter mental condition in which the man born lame found himself as he lay "at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful." All he asked for was money, presumably as he was without hope that he would ever walk. But Peter, discerning his mental destitution, spoke to him of Christ Jesus, with the result that the climax of the story pictures the healed man as "praising God." From a hopeless belief of residence in matter, the man instantly leaped into the joyous atmosphere of Spirit, where pæans of praise ever resound.

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Right Rule
February 5, 1927

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